Professional Android 2 Application Development (Wrox Programmer to Programmer) ペーパーバック – 2010/3/1
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Update to the bestseller now features the latest release of the Android platform
Android is a powerful, flexible, open source platform for mobile devices and its popularity is growing at an unprecedented pace. This update to the bestselling first edition dives in to cover the exciting new features of the latest release of the Android mobile platform.
Providing in-depth coverage of how to build mobile applications using the next major release of the Android SDK, this invaluable resource takes a hands-on approach to discussing Android with a series of projects, each of which introduces a new feature and highlights techniques and best practices to get the most out of Android.
- The Android SDK is a powerful, flexible, open source platform for mobile devices
- Shares helpful techniques and best practices to maximize the capabilities of Android
- Explains the possibilities of Android through the use of a series of detailed projects
- Demonstrates how to create real-world mobile applications for Android phones
- Includes coverage of the latest version of Android
Providing concise and compelling examples, Professional Android Application Development is an updated guide aimed at helping you create mobile applications for mobile devices running the latest version of Android.
Reto Meier is a software developer who has been involved in Android since the initial release in 2007. He is an Android Developer Advocate at Google.
First the good part: the book is aimed to those unfamiliar with Android development and it tries to cover a lot of material. So at the very least, this book could be used later as some kind of reference, when trying to get started utilizing some feature of the system.
In general, the presentation of material is decent. A feature is explained, some snippets of code are shown. Then the feature is utilized in the "main" app that is built throughout the book.
On to the bad part (which is always more fun, isn't it?). A successful book on technology X should have a number of practical, diverse, and reasonably complex examples which are build ground-up with increasing degree of sophistication to show practical application of various aspects of the new technology. This book has only one such example (an earthquake monitoring application) and it generally fits the bill covering various subsystems, but it is a very specific type of an app. It would be nice to have several different examples (e.g. a media player, a photo editor, etc.)
A good book this kind must have exercises, ideally of varying degree of difficulty. They drive the point home, forcing the reader to try different things, including those that are outside of the scope of the chapter in question. This book has none.
Now it might be me, but the presentation of some of the core concepts of Android development was not all that clear or practical. Two examples particularly stand out: one is the topic on activity lifecycle. While discussing in detail what it means from the system point of view when the activity is in a certain state is useful, there is very little (if any) information on how these states and transitions are related to the user actions (e.g. what happens to the activity when user starts another app, when a call comes in, when he turns the phone off, etc. etc.) Another such example is the discussion of Adapters - after having read the topic several times, I am still unclear about the relationship between the Adapter and the View it tries to populate.
Last things from the nitpicking department: the book would definitely benefit from more screenshots and less cheesy icons (pretty much every tiny piece of code is adorned with an icon reminding the reader that it can be downloaded from Wrox.com). Finally, I found the way code snippets are typeset (font and formatting) a bit poor as it makes them blend with the text. Using a more optimal font and possibly putting snippets in a box with a border might help this.
To summarize, it's not an inherently bad book and hopefully the next edition will improve on many such points. In the meantime, I recommend carefully shopping around as there may be a better book for picking up Android development.
Just a little more explanation of details would have helped a lot. For example, in creating a widget, listings 10-1 to 10-4 should be a nice project to get your own app going, but the details of where the snippets should be saved and how they need to be named are missing, so i spent a lot of time with errors along the lines of "resources not found" until I finally worked it all out.
There is nothing I could find in the book on publishing your own apps, particularly the topic of getting the keys that are required for distribution, the options for licensing, or the details of using Market. The index does not even have an entry for "publish."
As others have noted, there are a lot of errors and typos. Again, this leads to frustration, as errors pop up that are difficult to track down.
This book has potential. Perhaps it was rushed to publication. A thorough scrub of errors and the addition of details on how to get the code snippets to work may make the next edition a very good guide.
The downside is that it is difficult to jump to specific areas and work out specific points of interest. The explanations in some areas are quite detailed and helpful, and in other areas fairly light. For instance the "Preferences framework" has a couple of approaches, Reto covers alot of code to implement the various flavors of preference implementations. As this is quite heavy coding, there is little explanation, so perhaps covering too much here, and may be just sticking with one method of implementation and detailing it well, rather than throwing it all at you with very little explanation.
I suppose this is the tradeoff when going through an application that does more than "hello world", in that you can't document everything. So, you may find yourself googling for more info, or asking "why do I need to...". So it's not an API reference or code-snippets book. Overall a good book, the value comes over time as you reflect on what he has taken you through and review the sample app.
I installed Eclipse and the Android SDK. I worked through all the examples in the book and I got all of them to work. Sure there were some small bugs and omissions here and there. But I was able to debug those and/or consult the errata on the Wrox website. As a result, I learned something in the process. But there was so much information, that I have to read it twice to absorb it, and then I still won't remember everything. It should be a great reference later.
I think the first ten chapters of the book provided great information. The remaining chapters were a little light on details. But the book would have been much longer, and more expensive, if that was the case.